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Frugality Campaign Spreading in China

Posted January. 13, 2009 07:59,   


“Instant noodles that cost 1.5 yuan (22 U.S. cents) are my breakfast. An apple (0.8 yuan or 12 cents) is my lunch. It’s good to lose weight and save money. Ice cream (one yuan or 15 cents), dumplings and dessert made of apples are my dinner.”

These are living expenses of a Chinese netizen who goes by the pseudonym “Suilingjeous.” He said, “I can live on 4.4 yuan (64 cents) per day.”

Another netizen “Bobopu” said in a Web post, “If I have two free meals at my company`s cafeteria, I can live on only 15 yuan (2.19 U.S. dollars) a day, which includes four yuan (58 cents) for transportation, five yuan (73 cents) for breakfast, and six yuan (77 cents) for other expenses. I can live on 100 yuan (14.60 dollars) per week.”

The Chinese are famous for frugality. In 2007, their savings rate soared to 51.2 percent and that figure promises to rise further amid the global financial crisis.

In June last year, Chinese photojournalist Wang Hao opened a Web site (blog.soufun.com/q_19563.htm) to encourage netizens to live on 100 yuan (14.60 dollars) per week. Many Chinese have posted tips on saving money online.

The 10 most popular ways to save money for Chinese netizens include using free coupons; riding the bus for free; sharing a cab ride with other passengers; buying products at a group discount rate or on the Internet; exchanging used goods; using fake luxury goods; using home products; and making good use of free stuff.

Ten more principles to survive economic difficulty include staying at one`s job; not asking for a raise; working more at the office; helping friends land a job; saving money and not investing in stocks; buying insurance; remitting money to parents; no cars, no divorce and no babies; and remembering the real danger of losing one`s job.

The cost-cutting campaign has gotten more popular in China, but many warn against sacrificing health for money.

On his blog, Wang said, “It`s hard to live on 100 yuan (14.60 dollars) per week. But I want to encourage young Chinese to save money.”